Cabernet Sauvignon wine grape
Home for this variety is the Bordeaux region of Western France, where it forms the backbone of the most famous red wines in the world: Châteaux Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild.
DNA analysis in 1996 revealed that it is the offspring of a chance crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, probably in the 17th Century in or near Bordeaux ‐ though the clue was there in the name all along.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a late ripening grape that requires more sunlight and a warmer climate than is reliably found in Bordeaux, so there it is always blended, mainly with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In warmer climates it can be used unblended; Napa Valley in California and Coonawarra in Australia make superb varietal Cabernet, where the levels of ripeness achieved make blending unnecessary.
Its bunches are loosely formed (helpful in resisting rot in maritime climates like Bordeaux) and the grapes are thick skinned, having a high skin to pulp ratio. Those thick skins are high in tannins and anthocyanins (and so are deeply coloured).
Traditionally this variety gives low yields of full bodied, high acid, tannic wines. The classic flavour is blackcurrant. In cooler regions, this can be accompanied by notes of green capsicum and cedarwood, which become more accentuated as the wine ages. Warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon can have more of a blackberry fruit character, with herbal scents of mint and eucalyptus.
Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the best black variety for ageing, with its strengths in tannin, acidity and fruit concentration. Cabernet wines (and blends based on it) can improve over decades, developing complex tertiary flavours.
Decanting Club wines containing: Cabernet Sauvignon
From Penedès, Spain
Pardas ‘Negre Franc’
From Eden Valley, Australia
Berton Vineyard, High Eden Cabernet Sauvignon
From Central Coast, California, United States
Viano, Contra Costa County, Cabernet Sauvignon
From Penedès, Spain
Mas Candi, Les Forques
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